The Bar Stool Preachers - ‘Blatant Propaganda’ (PledgeMusic) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Nev Brooks   
Saturday, 19 March 2016 03:00

BSP COVER 300 Final


I have to start this review with a bit of a confession, I have prior knowledge of The Bar Stool Preachers, and no it wasn’t Johnny H doing his usual thing by raving about links to other bands or something that I’ve just seen that’s been brought up in the press, my prior knowledge goes back almost two years, and it’s personal. How’s that for being there from the start?


Rewind to the Rebellion Festival in Amsterdam 2014, headlined by Cock Sparrer and The Damned and featuring a whole host of others, it was the night before the event and I was lucky enough to have an in depth conversation with Tom McFaull - lead voice in The Bar Stool Preachers - in an Irish pub, down some back street whilst drinking stupidly strong Belgium beer. Fair play that beer knocked me bandy and it was no wonder Johnny H stuck to his Carling. Anyway chatting to Tom we got talking about ska, reggae and Punk and how it all kind of fits together. I got the impression that this was a guy totally grounded in the music we were talking about, and not just from a modern stand point but also a historic point of view, in other words this guy knew his shit. During the depths of the conversation he started talking about his band, the at the time still fledgling Bar Stool Preachers and it was great to see the excitement he had just burning for the genre, then things began to get a bit hazy, and I’m sure there was a check out our new video, “when you get back”, which I took to mean in every sense of the phrase, as quite frankly I was hammered by this point.


This conversation did stick with me however and when I did get back I checked out the track. ‘One Fool Down’ and it absolutely blew me away as did the next track I heard, the mighty ‘Bar Stool Preacher’. Thankfully both of these beauties are on the LP I’ll be getting around to reviewing in a moment which is currently available through PledgeMusic and guess what I’ve already made my purchase. For me it’s the heavy duty coloured vinyl with additional flexi disc and I would suggest everyone does the same, pledge that is, in whatever format takes your fancy, because let’s be honest this record is gonna be kicking around the top of just about every Uber Rock writer’s list come the end of the year. It’s definitively the best album of 2016 so far for me, simply because it is everything I was expecting and more, and after repeated listens, you know what, it just grows and grows on you.  



Okay onto the music itself and I have to say from the start “this is a party LP in every sense of the term” as we are straight in with ‘Trickledown’ which grabs you by the throat, give you a good shake and you just have to get up and bounce around the room. That ska beat in the background just sets the scene, but is also instantly addictive and chock full of energy. You can just imagine how good this is going to be live all the raw energy of an at their prime Specials or Beat but with a real punk edge.


Next up probably the track that is going send The Dollshouse into overdrive at probably the festival of the summer Slugfest 9, ‘Bar Stool Preacher’ the incessant skanking guitar and horns do me each and every time, and there really isn’t a let up as no sooner does this track finish than ‘Looking Lost’ coasts in complete with a cameo appearance from Vic Ruggiero and has one of those instantly catchy call and response vocal refrains that we will all be singing come the summer. This track also veers into dub territory and quite simply is great stuff.



When you listen to ‘Clock Out’ you begin to realise just how deep the punk underpinning is embedded into The Bar Stool Preachers' sound, there’s even a hint of a very famous father in Tom’s vocal delivery for this number, it’s much more rock and roll than ska, but next up ‘Own Worse Enemy” puts things firmly back onto a skanking ska footing, and again you can only imagine the energy this number is going to generate live, it is stunning stuff!


‘Start New’ raises its head and we’re right back in Specials territory once again albeit with an edge that is just a little bit different, a little bit rawer, edgy almost this is rapidly becoming my favourite track on the album, combining as it does reggae/ska/dub and punk all in four minutes of frenzied fun.


By this point of the album you’ll probably need to take a rest, because take it from me ‘Blatant Propaganda’ doesn’t dip at all in terms of energy levels, and the more you listen the better it sounds. ‘Good News’ or what? Which coincidently just happens to be next track up too and we are skanking to a more Beat than Specials vibe for this one, but again it’s very different from anything the Beat put out, it’s got a real edge to the vocal delivery which Tom pretty much nails on each of the thirteen tracks on this record. ‘Keeping Busy’ meanwhile sounds like it has a punk rock neck tattoo, the band leaving the ska behind for a minute or two, but it certainly doesn’t make it any less catchy though!


Fair play this album just flies through and next track ‘Battleworn’ takes us into slightly different territory, more rock and roll, and certainly much lighter than what’s come before but you can just see how it’s going to fit perfectly into a live set none the less. Which leads perfectly into ‘Friend Or Foe’ and, this is classic punk. I love it, it’s just catchy enough to get its hooks in and again that chorus is going to be so recognizable to everyone come the summer’s end.


BSP band


I love the bass and guitar that ushers in ‘Sleep No More, and again this is a track that is sitting at the very top of my must playlist at the moment, it having something of a Ruts DC vibe to it, and insanely catchy none the less. Then we’re into the first track I heard, the stunning ‘One Fool Down’ and, there isn’t going to be one person not singing this in any of the band’s live performances dotted right across Europe this Spring and onwards - it is that good! Album closer ‘Ballad Of The M1’ is pretty self explanatory and really sums up life on the road in 2016 and boy what a set closer this would make.


‘Blatant Propaganda’ has just about everything we should all be looking for in our music. It’s edgy, new and above all different. This is the perfect soundtrack to your next party, preferably on a Saturday, after waking up, devouring a Full English, putting on some classic ska or punk to fully wake you up, catching a game of football, and arriving back home with all your best mates after a few beers - preferably not Belgium, or you will remember little or nothing of the night to come.

approved image lrg 2013 

This is 100% album of the year so far for me, and there have been some stunners already. Uber Rock Approved in triplicate, this really is that good.